On Friday, September 23rd, the last network airing of All My Children began at 12 Noon Central Standard Time. An hour later, it was over. The scheming, the lying, the loving, the surviving, the happy, the sad, the highs, the lows, the tragedy and the triumph.

Erica Kane, the Diva of Pine Valley, finally got her comeuppance when Jackson Montgomery finally, after years of pursuit, responded to her plea that she needed and loved him with an homage worthy of Gone With the Wind.  (“Frankly, Erica, I don’t give a damn what you need.” Aaaand exit – stage left). David Hayward, the Scourge of Pine Valley, resurrected several dozen people (at least it felt that way), including Dixie Cooney-Martin and Stuart Chandler, both done in via terrible writing by past writing regimes and approval of the Executive Producer (*coughJulieHananCarrutherscough*) and Zach Slater, half of the Zendall Supercouple both beloved and reviled across soapdom. Bianca Montgomery, the Moral Center of Pine Valley, finally, seemingly, got a happy ending. Adam and Brooke returned, as did Joe and Ruth.  And Jamie, albeit briefly. Tad and Dixie got back together, Jake and Amanda stayed together, David knocked up Cara and JR got a gun…

The show ended with a cliffhanger of sorts, as JR, mad as hell and apparently not going to take it anymore (no matter how stupid, selfish and alcohol-fueled) hid in the Chandler Mansion’s infamous tunnels and fired one single shot into the crowd of PV revelers as the screen faded to black. Who was shot? We don’t know. Why? Because the show will move on-line in January and Agnes Nixon, creator and headwriter, and Prospect Park, new owners of the venerable soap, wanted it that way.

While I didn’t agree with the ending, I understand why they did it. I’m just sad that such a time-honored icon went out with more of a whimper than a bang (no pun intended).  I understand that the cliffhanger aspect will hopefully keep people guessing until the show re-appears, it also could have the opposite effect in that as time passes, it’s possible no one will care what happened to whom by the time January rolls around. I think a finale tied up in a nice, neat bow would have worked just as well. Because while the cliffhanger keeps people guessing, the time that passes between now and January, in real time, would also allow the characters’ feelings to change, lives to begin and end and the world to continue turning (with apologies to another great, yet canceled, show). The show could then pick up from there, re-booting with an explanation of who and why without having to deal with death and destruction from the outset.

But that is neither here nor there.

What IS here and there is that this venerable show was removed from our airwaves after 41 years. Saying good-bye to such a dear friend has been hard. For every Daytime Television Executive intent on killing daytime serials one long-running, scripted show at a time for cheap, boring, horrible “reality television”, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of long-time viewers who have incredible memories to share about their “stories”.  Women who grew up watching with their mothers, grandmothers, friends, family. Men and women who remember scheduling college classes around their favorites. An entire generation of teens struggling with their sexuality…

All My Children wasn’t just entertainment. It told the story of us, our neighbors, our families, our friends. It was timely and relevant. It told the story of legalized abortion (Erica had one in 1973, the first legal one on daytime television following the passage of Roe v. Wade- ridiculously undone in 2005), opposition to the Vietnam War (for which the late Mary Fickett won Daytime’s first Emmy Award), teen homosexuality (delicately and beautifully written by show creator Agnes Nixon and portrayed by Eden Riegel) and the stigma of Aids (heartbreakingly performed by David Canary and Ellen Wheeler). The show handled both drama and comedy, many times excelling at the latter at the expense of the former. It taught tolerance, respect and love.  It bridged generations and taught us all a few lessons we sorely needed to learn.

For me, All My Children was a lifetime friend. I began watching during the scorching hot summers of my youth, hiding in the air conditioning during the heart of the day and losing myself in Pine Valley, before following that up with the rest of the ABC Daytime line-up.  My senior year of high school, my schedule allowed me to be home by 11:30 where I would watch the shows before returning to school at 3:30 for basketball practice. I watched during my lunch hour all through college and as often as I could when I joined the workforce in a time before DVR’s- or even VCR’s. I grew up with Jenny and Greg, Angie and Jesse, Liza, Amanda and the entire teen set from the early 80’s. I loved the Cliff and Nina love story, the hilarity of Erica, Janet, Skye and Marian trying to hide the supposedly dead body of Dr. Jonathan Kinder and the incredibly told story of Stuart and Cindy.

I watched Tad and Dixie’s relationship evolve into one of the most enduring on Daytime television, persevering through 2 deaths (both Dixie’s) only to be reunited in the end, as it should be. I watched almost all of Erica’s marriages begin… and end.

I made it through chemotherapy sessions in the summer of 2005 with the help of Kendall and Greenlee (Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig), affectionately known as Kenlee, watching them work their way through hatred and friendship, humor and tears, and equally tormenting Erica Kane in the process.

I cheered when couples I loved finally got together, I railed when poor storytelling made my favorite characters seem so foreign to me. I wrote the press, I wrote the show, I wrote the actors. I’ve watched through good times and some really bad clunker stories. I admit to walking away because of the reign of horror we were subjected to by one Charles Pratt and his offensive, insipid, insulting and ridiculous vision for the show. I came back because, like a long-lost friend, I missed it so much.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many stars of the show, Alicia Minshew, Thorsten Kaye, the irrepressible Michael E. Knight.  Michael even gave me 20 Disney bucks when he heard we had arrived at the park at 3am so I could grab some breakfast when I was done. I used the money to buy a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, instead…

I met some the of the best friends I’ve ever had at a Message Board dedicated to the pairing of Bianca and Maggie (the Supercouple known as BAM – portrayed by Eden and Elizabeth Hendrickson).  They were there for me as I battled cancer and hugged me tightly whenever we got together.

I’ve been honored to find myself one of the founding members of Eden Riegel’s Official Fan Club (AbsoluteEden.com) and have had the opportunity to know Eden and her husband, Andrew Miller, as well as her mother, Lenore.

I watched the final week of All My Children alternating between laughter and tears, finally coming to that realization that, come Monday at noon, there would be no need to make sure my television was on and tuned to ABC. I thought of the friends I made way back in the late 70’s during those hot summer days, who came into my house every day to entertain me, the ones who have long since passed and those we have recently mourned. I admittedly wept when thinking of those who I may never see again as they have been to me for 30+ years.

I sighed when I dried my tears and prepared myself to do this again in a few months when we say good-bye to another life-long friend.

And I smiled when I remembered what All My Children has meant to me for more than half my life.

Good bye, my dear, dear friend. I thank you for all that you have given me.

May we meet again soon.

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As previously reported, Cameron Mathison (con-man-turned-hero Ryan Lavery) and Lindsay Hartley (Doctors-Without-Borders Dr. Cara Castillo) have signed to join Prospect Park when they take All My Children on-line.

These are the first signings for the new version of AMC through Prospect Park and there are surely more to follow.

Read the TVGuide article here: Mathison, Hartley Join Prospect Park’s AMC

After initially saying she was ready to move on from Kendall Hart-Slater and All My Children, Alicia Minshew is now apparently willing to listen to a proposal from Prospect Park, if it would be possible for her to stay recurring. Bringing her to the web as Kendall, in whatever capacity, would go a long way to making the show more interesting, especially if the reports of Susan Lucci’s refusal to join are true.

 

The very first podcast of Absolute Eden, the official fan club of Eden Riegel, Emmy-award winning actress as Bianca Montgomery on All My Children and currently Heather Stevens on The Young and the Restless, is up and ready for your listening pleasure!

Check it out here: http://abpod.libsyn.com/episode-1-part-1

And check back in a couple of days when part 2, yes, you read that right, PART 2! will be posted.

As announced last week, Eden Riegel, most famous for her Daytime Emmy-award winning turn as All My Children‘s Bianca Montgomery, the first major gay character on daytime television, has signed on to The Young and the Restless in the role of Heather Stevens. This is a huge departure for Riegel as Heather is an aggressive Assistant District Attorney with an attitude and who has had just a few bed-mates of the male persuasion…

One of the benefits of this move is that Riegel will be reunited with her longtime friend and former on-screen paramour Elizabeth Hendrickson, who plays headstrong, conniving, funny Chloe Mitchell. (both Heather and Chloe are the offspring of legacy characters in Genoa City, as well) If they have any interaction is yet to be seen, but that will be a lot of fun to see since the characters are not friends as Heather most recently hit the sheets with Billy Abbott, the father of Chloe’s child. The other will be watching Eden take on a character the total polar opposite of Bianca; arrogant, aggressive, seriously flawed and miles from the moral center Bianca was to Pine Valley.

I, for one, am excited to see Eden stretch her wings and play a new character. She will forever and always be Bianca Montgomery, but there comes a time when you have to take that next step and try something new. It will be jarring to see the visage of sweet, honest loving Bianca as a single-minded, envelope-pushing legal eagle, but it most certainly will be fun!

Thank you, Eden, for everything you gave to All My Children and its viewers. You went above and beyond in many instances, including taking the wrath of a viewership and then Writer/Producer (using the terms incredibly loosely) Charles Pratt when he blamed you for his own massive shortcomings. Sadly, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, most obviously the ones who have blinders on or absolutely no idea what the hell they’re talking about while believing they do.

And best of luck on Y&R. I know you’ll be fantastic.

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Could it happen? Yes, it could! Andrew Miller revealed to Nelson Branco on the first annual Rock the Soaps Cruise that IB is getting the big screen treatment!

Miller told TVGuide.ca exclusively that his sensational web show, which recently won two Soap Opera Spirit Awards, will soon be hitting the big screen! “TeleFilm Canada is sponsoring and investing in the film version. We hope to shoot in Toronto,” he muses. While Imaginary shoots in Los Angeles, the proud Canadian says he’s always imagined the show’s location was Toronto.

I know I speak for many IB fans when I say Season 2 can’t come soon enough and we would love to see this in a theater near us… Just think of the IB peeps on the Red Carpet for the World Premiere, Fans of Bitches! Just. Think. About. It!

Until Season 2’s debut, remember you can catch Eden back on All My Children as Bianca Montgomery for at least a couple episodes coming up in late April. For more info, check 2 blogs down.

Thanks to Nelson Branco for breaking the news in his article on TVGuide.ca.

Eden’s last air date is February 24th (ironically 4 years to the day of her initial departure), when her character, Bianca, loads up her two daughters and returns to Paris without the “love of her life” new bride Reese, who, for some unknown reason, decides to stay behind in Pine Valley rather than follow closely on Bianca’s heels and attempt to save their brand new marriage…

She’ll apparently return later this winter to conclude the Rinks storyline.

Despite our love and support for Eden, there are those of us who aren’t exactly holding our breath.

So we now discover that Bianca and Reese, who are an amazingly cool and in love couple, don’t even know each other… At all… Yesterday, JR and Bianca had a little run-in and Bianca had to explain to a rather startled Reese about the history they shared concerning a little tumble off a two-story balcony.

Um… WTF?

Reese apparently didn’t know that JR gave Binksy a trip off a balcony in Florida and that Bess was Miranda for, lo those 9+ months? Did she live in a vacuum or not have access to the Internet or tabloids before she got beaned in the melon by a ball in a Paris park? (Seriously, she didn’t head back to her place after the beaning and Google ‘Bianca Montgomery’? Really?) I thought Erica Kane’s lesbian daughter was tabloid fodder all around the world. I mean, that’s what we were led to believe for years after Bianca’s coming out.

But, really, wouldn’t this have been a better exchange?

Reese: What was that all about?

Bianca: Oh, JR had my daughter, who I thought was his daughter, because his wife Babe, who is – or rather was– love, stole her from me for 9 months, this is Miranda I’m talking about here, but actually, she didn’t steal her, we were just lost to each other- anyway JR and I argued, after I Kane-slapped the snot out of Babe, and then JR got mad and we stepped out onto the balcony to chat and he pushed me off, or I jumped, I’m kinda unlcear on the whole thing, and I fell ever so daintily 2 floors and ended up in a coma for a while. They didn’t think I was going to make it, you know. Anyway, Mom finally convinced Adam that Bess was Miranda and brought her to me and, ta da! I woke up. I kinda remember someone whispering in my ear that they loved me, but that’s blurry, too. Did I not tell you any of this after we started dating?

Apparently not, Binks…

So… Reese apparently didn’t and/or still doesn’t know that Bianca offed the man who raped her and impregnated her, creating Miranda. Reese apparently didn’t know about Kendall willing to take the fall for Michael’s murder to hide Bianca’s pregnancy from the world (which, I believe, was because Bianca didn’t want to hurt her mother and become tabloid fodder). Does Cool Reese know that Babe, who is- or rather was– love, stole Miranda and paraded her around town for 9 months as her own daughter and let Bianca be her own child’s godmother, and then Bianca willingly FORGAVE Babe for this, saying that she and Miranda were merely “lost” to one another for the better part of a year?

We’re supposed to believe that this couple, who are living together, raising a daughter together and so in love they decided to have another child, don’t know anything about what has happened in their past? What has formed their will, determination, psyche, psychoses and outlook on life? Reese even said yesterday that she was rather surprised when Bianca got so upset at a man in Paris for shoving the woman he was with… so, Bianca never even told Reese about the woman she had been living with in Paris, who was also the “love of Bianca’s life” and who had been in an abusive relationship that Bianca had been desperate to get her out?

Bianca finally seems concerned of how her sister might react when she learns of Bianca and Zach’s betrayal in order to pop out a kid with a woman she apparently only met about 10 months ago and Reese, in her obliviousness, doesn’t make things any better.

Bianca: You don’t know my sister.

Reese: No, but I know you.

Oh, really? What’s her favorite movie, Reese? Where did she live when she moved out of her mother’s house? Did you know she had a juvenile record for driving while drunk? Did you know she was going to college when she was pregnant with Miranda? Did you know she likes cotton candy and spending the day at the park in the summer? Who was her best friend before Maggie Stone? Do you know how that best friend died? Did you know that Bianca has a history of pyromania? That she has an eating disorder? Was “committed” to another woman at one time? Almost moved to Poland to be with that woman? Stole a baby one Christmas because she was convinced the child was hers? (she was right, by the way, but that’s not the point)

Shall I go on, Reese?

Wow… So, I’ve written a little letter to Charles Pratt, Head hack- er, writer at All My Children. It’s short but rather succinct and to the point. Tell me what you think:

Dear Mr. Pratt,

Can you please explain to me how the super cool couple you created in Reese and Bianca have been living together, had a child together and want to marry know so alarmingly little about each other?

Seriously I would like to know,
Mary Beth

I mean, really… WTF?